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Kalash culture

The Kalasha and the Crescent raises a number of challenging questions about cultural preservation, religious freedom, and indigenous rights. We are pleased that the film has sparked a lively conversation around these issues, and welcome further audience responses. If you have watched the film, please take a moment to send us your thoughts and keep the discussion going! We can be reached by email at A selection of comments is included below.

Maurice C., USA The first thing that struck me are the resplendent colors and the universal nature of the drum. I was also struck by the narrative about singing and dancing at birth and death — one of our board members is from the Cameroon and she says, Maurice, if someone is born we sing and dance, if someone dies we sing and dance — traditional cultures share so much in common. This is one of the key “take-aways” for me from the film.

As a trained geographer I would have liked a bit more geographical context, especially seeing that the film is entitled “The Kalasha and the Cresecent” and people know very little about them if anything at all.

As usual, just fascinating work in providing us a window in the traditional cultures of the world and their various forms of resistance.

John D., Ireland A fascinating insight into the challenges facing the Kalasha in a world which seems to becoming less tolerant or understanding of difference and diversity.

Anisa A., USA Thank you very much for sharing. I really don’t know what to say about it except that people must make their own choices based upon their own desires and needs. I don’t know anything about Taliban and I don’t know why they would be attempting to convert anyone by force because it is clearly prohibited in the Quran. That means for me that there is more to be learned about the situation. Thank you very much. I will share it with some friends in Pakistan.

Abdulwahhab T., UK It’s really depressing to know people were forced to convert to any religion…. What’s worse is that some people committed suicide to avoid converting. They could have just pretended they were Muslims and then done their things… If someone forces me now to convert or he’ll kill me, I would convert and do whatever I want when I am alone. Another point I’d like to raise is that teaching children to follow the parents’ culture is something I am not really fond of… I think the best way is to teach children to follow whatever culture they want to follow and expose them to as many cultures and habits by reading and watching documentaries. I can’t imagine myself following my parents’ culture and religion and ending up as an extremist, which is the case in Syria… In general, I liked the film cause it introduces a lot of things I didn’t know before and it’s really nice to see different cultures.

Saman M., USA Very nice piece on the Kalash movement — great work!! I did not know about them until I saw your short film. The challenges remind me of the mass conversion from Christianity to Islam during the Ottoman rule in the Middle East.

John P.R., UK Another hope-inspiring contribution to tolerance in these troubled times. The film has a lovely spirit.

Asim G., Pakistan Full support to your fine cause. It would be a great loss to this region’s culture, and world culture, if the ancient Kalash culture is destroyed, as has already has happened in Afghanistan, I understand.

Daniel S., Palestine Beautiful, very interesting, and troubling.

A. Godi, Brazil Respeitado amigo do mundo fraterno e igual! Aqui digita sedento por conhecer seu mundo e cultura para conhecer a minha humanidade plural. Eu os meus e nós todos em busca do mistério do nós. Vamos conversar e partilharmos a vida….

Sandra L., USA Powerful advocacy for indigenous culture…

Josh R., USA This documentary is fascinating and beautiful–congratulations! Can’t wait to see the full-length version.

Ole R., Denmark Great job Iara. I am aware of the Taliban kidnapping of the Swiss teacher who worked for the Kalash community and against the commercialization of their ceremonies.

Trisha T., USA Congratulations on completing this stunning and powerful film Iara. You’ve once again brought light to the beauty and vibrancy that culture creates, especially in the face of adversity — from the dangers posed by intolerance and the Taliban, to the challenges of sustaining deeply rooted traditions in an evolving world. The latter issue is one that was brought into stark relief for me while visiting several of Japan’s dying papermaking villages – it’s truly heartbreaking to see a culture almost evaporating before your eyes. I’ve taken the liberty of sharing this with some colleagues and friends and am very excited to see where Sayed Gul takes this… she seems incredible!

Cat G., USA Congrats on this film. It’s a powerful testament to dramatic change. I hope there is a chance for Tibet and the Kalash!

Dr. Saleem A., Pakistan

After having watched the documentary the thought that keeps haunting my mind is that cultures are probably older than religions on this planet. But unfortunately, the former have been found to be victims to religions currently, although the same can easily support them so they can persist naturally and indefinitely. The beautiful people of the beautiful Kalash Valley with their colorful costumes celebrating their annual festivals create a scenery that directly touches the heart. But at the same time it is a matter of dismay to know that the inhabitants of this wonderous valley are left only less than 4000 in number, mainly because of forcible conversion to other religions. As long as they are over the age so as to decide for themselves and the conversion is purely voluntary there should not be any problem with them but when force enters into the scene, the real trouble starts. I look forward to the day when the religious leaders understand that religions can and do protect cultures and should not be used to destroy them. Only then one can foresee this beautiful culture endure. In any case otherwise it is destined to doom, unfortunately and sadly enough.

Koshan W., USA Thank you for sharing the documentary of Kalasha. It is certainly important to preserve and promote the unique and very individualistic cultures. The Kalasha is under threat in two ways, first by Islam and second by local so-called tourists. In Afghanistan on the other side of the border from Kalash we have Nooristan which had similar culture and beliefs but they were forced brutally to accept Islam between the years 1844 to 1900s.

Carine N., Burundi Un sujet extraordinaire. Avant toi je n’avais jamais entendu parler des “Kalash”.

Elise C.L., USA This is a fascinating glimpse at a little-known culture of beautiful people facing many existential challenges. Thank you for letting us know about this important work.

Abdallah O., Libya Nice work! Very beautifully shot! How in the world did you find that place…? You know, in Libya we have some areas that still have very old cultures and traditions that very cool. A lot of colors and great music in the south. Anyway keep up the great work!

Louise T., USA I love how you have shaped this film… and the feelings I had while doing my part with the transcribing are reverberating even deeper while watching this. I had to literally go outside and do other things when I was working on it, at junctures, while listening and gathering perspective… one comes to understand the subtleties of erasing a culture and the rawness by which this is done… Of course in the US it is so awful to be so far removed, and so complicit in so many ways, aye that is the rub, isn’t it? To keep us so far removed from the process that you are witnessing rather close up. Painful both ways.

Thank you for making this, thanks for caring about showing the world the beautiful compromised people and their ways of life… it always seems to me, the simple and old ways are really the future… the light at the end… you have captured that. I hope more will come to understand that they are our futures.

Diane B.R., USA It is amazing how much of the world I am unfamiliar with. Â I will share this with all my friends.

Ismail S., Pakistan I just watched your movie. It is the most beatiful really. This type of cultural movie is very important for improving Pakistan. Really I like that.. But I think you should make one more movie for orphans. Because there are 1.7 million orphans in this country. For that some nights I can’t sleep.

Hill-Aina S., Norway Thank you so much — I’m proud of being a part of this documentary! I’m not sure if I told you, but my project the last few years is to travel to minorities around the world, to see how they use beads as a part of their identity and adornment. Beads have always been treasures and used as a currency — also long before the Europeans started their imperialism. It’s very much the same problems they struggle with as you focus on in this documentary.

Haris A., Pakistan It’s such a shame, this forceful conversion, the forceful ‘saving of their souls’ as they would believe it to be… I think faith is the deepest, most hardwired into your system kind of belief. You can’t just take that away by force. I don’t know where these so called Islamists get the idea of a forceful conversion. Its absurd!

Asad A., Canada Very nice documentary. The culture of the Kalash people must be preserved.

Ignacio D., Canary Islands Congratulations for your new documentary. The World will be only through culture. Tolerance and mutual knowledge, interculturality and changing our minds from consumerism to the inexhaustible source of the culture. Have you read Amin Maalouf РLe D̩r̬glement du monde? A must read. You know, you can count on me to share and spread your awesome work.

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